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tv   Sanjay Gupta MD  CNN  December 24, 2011 4:30am-5:00am PST

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other merchants are deeply discouraged and that israelis and palestinians need to do more to help bethlehem live up to its potential. >> we can make it the life in the sky. >> reporter: a christmas wish shared by the residents of this little west bank town. kevin flower, cnn, bethlehem. >> i'll be back with you at the top of the hour. right now, time for the good doctor. merry christmas. happy hanukkah, thanks for being with us this morning. i'm dr. sanjay gupta. >> everything just tasted better when my grandma was around. >> waking up on a special morning? a secret recipe for lasting memories. >> come here. >> story about a man and his dog that will warm anybody's heart. plus, it's my turn in the hot seat. >> i'm a neurosurgeon. >> stories that i never shared before until now.
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first, 40 years ago this past friday, december 23rd, president richard nixon declared the war on cancer. >> i hope that in the years ahead, that we may look back on this day and this action as being the most significant action taken during this administration. >> president nixon had big expectations and we have come a long way since 1971. still, even today, cancer will strike down 1 in 4 americans. there are smart people who may tell you up front that we may be losing the war on cancer. but this morning i want to talk about our successes rather than failures. at the end of world war ii, doctors had very little to do with cancer, you could cut it out, blast it with radiation, but there wasn't good medicine. then in one day in 1947, a 2-year-old boy came through the door at children's hospital in boston. ♪ ♪ ♪ robert sadler had leukemia. it had broken through his bones.
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his twin brother watched the ambulance take him away. back then, the disease meant death in a matter of weeks or months. at children's hospital, dr. sidney farber was on to something, kind of a magic potion. it was the first chemotherapy drug. robert sandler was in the first group to receive it here is his mother more than 50 years later in a family video. >> every day to the hospital, by streetcar, by bus, because we don't have a car. >> reporter: imagine the jubilation when it worked. within weeks, robert was back on his feet, back with the family. christmas, 1948. still doing well. but it didn't last. >> and he had one month to go to be four when he died. >> reporter: robert died in the summer of 1949, nearly two full years after cancer struck. the scientific triumph that never did trump a family's pain. >> that's my bad memories of
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losing my son after having him declared cured, because they used him as a guinea pig. >> i first heard about this story from a doctor, a cancer specialist in new york who has written an amazing book, a real history of cancer and cancer treatment, called "emperor of all maladies." >> sometimes in television, it's hard to get our editors and producers to buy into a story about something like cancer. or about something like hiv/aids or something that they think the audience is just not going find palatable. when you were meeting with your publishers, and you said i want to write a book about cancer what was the reception. >> the publishers were unbelievably acceptable. one in two men and one in three women in america will face this disease personally, directly. it was a fascinating thing. here's something that is going to effect each and every one of our lives, yet we know so little about it in the public's fear, in its history.
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>> why? why is that? >> part of it, i think, is there's a reaction. a denial. we don't want to hear it it's the big "c." i tell a story in the book about fanny, a breast cancer advocate from the 1950s who calls up the "new york times" and says, you know, i'd like to place an advertisement for survivors of breast cancer. "the times" gets on the phone and says we can't print the words breast and cancer in the "new york times" what if we said this was a survivor's group for the disease of the chest wall. this is 1950. there is still distinctly that visceral reaction. >> you decided to dedicate the book to a boy. how did that come about? what did you learn afterwards? >> i became obsessed in writing the book of finding cases of patients, stories of patients. one of the stories was who was
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the first kid being treated for leukemia by sidney farber. i thought i would find it in boston. i found it in india and found it through a friend. someone referred me and kept -- >> a log. >> exactly. so his name turned out to be robert sandler. >> r.s. it was r.s. in -- >> exactly. it was r.s. he was called r.s. in the papers. i found out it was robert sandler and had a picture of him because this biographer cut out a picture. then i dedicated the book to robert sandler. i found out where he lived in 1948. went to his house, but, of course, everything had changed. two weeks after the book was published, i got a phone call, it was his twin brother on the line, elliott sandler. he was moved to tears. he said i didn't know this book was written. i opened this book and i saw a picture of myself and my twinlo.
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it was a journey for me. we tracked down elliott sandler as well, that's robert's twin brother. he has some remarkable memories of what happened in those days 60 years ago. did you know throughout your life that yoyour brother's role history? >> i had no idea until recently, until the book came out. i had no idea. >> you dedicated the book to robert sandler. there's a lot of patients in your back to that you told their stories. why robert in particular? >> robert was part of the first cohort of children to be treated with chemotherapy by sidney farber in boston in 1947. and he had a brief response to the drug and then relapsed, and unfortunately died soon after. what is amaze being this story, after adding more combinations of the very same kinds of drugs, eventually this disease that
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robert had, leukemia, became 80% curable by the mid 1960s and particularly by the mid 1970s, so it was an enormous victory for pediatric cancer. it was a beacon of hope. and richard nixon in launching the war in cancer on 1971 was really acknowledging in some sense that this victory had already occurred. robert is an iconic patient. >> elliott, as the doctor is describing this. you are his twin brother, you were very, very young. do you remember anything of those times? >> yes, surprisingly so the thing is he was dead on in this book, absolutely. i can remember the hospital. i can remember the hospital wards. they didn't have curtains as we know them today. they used to put up kurcurtains they would put up four of them around the bed so you wouldn't see the patient. i remember the nights my mother
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would hold my brother and rock him because he was in so much pain. we were very close. i would try to keep him from crying. try to make him happy. like i said, i remember a lot of things as if they were yesterday. remember being in the train going to the hospital. you take a trolley, what we used to call the elevator, which is really a train. my mother, if we could get in the front car, i remember her setting my brother and i up by the door so we could watch the train tracks go back. i'll never forget the click clack, the click of the tracks. >> really seared into your memory for obvious reasons. he's the one who got cancer. did you ever think as his twin brother, why me? or why not me? >> oh. i -- i very rarely do the what if or could have or should have except in this one instance. because all of my life -- all of my life i have often wondered why him and not me? in fact, when i first talked to
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sid here, he made it clear to me -- i asked him point blank, why him and not me? and what was special? he told me it was just a cell that went berserk. i have often wondered what if he had been alive, he would be my best friend? would he still be my best friend? what would we have done? we were identical. >> that's an incredible thing to think about. you know, you have such a -- it's such a unique experience in so many ways. appreciate, elliott, you taking some time to share that with us and our audience. doctor, as i said before, i'll say it again, it's an amazing book. everyone should read it, if you want to learn about cancer, what has happened with the disease and scientific achievement. thank you both for joining us. >> thank you. >> thank you very much. i should point out the american society of clinical oncologists, which is the largest organization of doctors who treat cancer patients, they have a vision for the next ten years in the war on cancer.
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looks something like this. designing smarter and faster clinical trials that will let cancer patients benefit fromny therapies sooner. identifies target therapies that will benefit the most papers and approving of electronic medical records to better match cancer patients with trials that will target their specific cancers. a lot to be done. up next, a story of healing. got an iraq vet and one special dog. real treatment for ptsd. ??? i've been eating progresso and now my favorite old okay is there a woman i can talk to? [ male announcer ] progresso. 40 soups 100 calories or less. okay is there a woman ♪ i can talk to? ♪ [ male announcer ] everyone deserves the gift of a pain free holiday.
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you really want to be careful, you can't use something as abrasive as a toothpaste because it will cause scratches. as a result of those scratches, bacteria will get lodged in that denture and as they multiply in the mouth the odor can get stronger. i always advise my patients to use polident. it has specific agents in it that can kill bacteria. using polident daily, you definitely will not be creating the scratches. you're going to have a fresh bright smile, and you're going to feel confident.
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last weekend we watched as the last soldiers rolled out of iraq. i was there back in 2003. they say the war is over, but i heard it echo when i met jeff mitchell. he did two tours of duty in iraq. the damage he suffered was on the inside. turned out what he needed was a friend who could really understand him. >> reporter: the story begins a long time ago, with a boy and
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his mother. >> you never expect to have a child and send them to war. >> reporter: the boy becomes a man. and then comes 9/11, and the army is calling his name. >> i do remember crying, pleading, begging. then it got to the point where you have to support what they want to do. >> reporter: jeff rolled through baghdad in 2003. he did two tours of duty, fighting in the desert. when he comes home, there are violent outbursts. heavy drinking, a stay in rehab, and finally a diagnosis -- severe post-traumatic stress disorder. >> i never left my room. drink i drinking the entire time i was awake. so there wasn't a whole lot there. come here. ♪ >> but here is gets better. you see, this story has a girl. jeff gets involved with a group called paws for vets and meets
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tazzy. she had been picked up running wild in afghanistan. she was psychological wreck. >> there is six to eight guys, probably eight dogs. the first thing that she did was find a corner and get as far into that corner as she could. i could sit here and pet a dog all day. >> reporter: as you can see, in mine months tazzy has come a long way. jeff, too it's obvious he's still on edge, but tazzy makes his life easier. someone walks up behind them, they'll give jeff a nudge. when the dark thoughts start to cascade, tazzy is there to stem the flow. can tazzy tell? >> will be something as simple as her coming over to me. and whatever else may be going through my mind, just, you know, gets knocked down a notch or two. >> it may not sound like much. but with tazzy, jeff gets out of the house. even to public events like this
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one for paws 4 vets. >> you think about all that modern medicine has to offer, and in jeff's case it wasn't enough, it sounds like. >> right. >> but then this dog comes into his life and seems to help a lot. >> oh, more than a lot. she has saved him. she absolutely -- >> you believe that? >> absolutely know that she has saved him. >> you done showing off? >> now, it's worth pointing out paws 4 vets provided tazzy like all its dogs to no cost to jeff and his family. they have trained more than 200 service dogs for returning veterans. up next, the sweet taste of nostalgia. ♪
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♪ >> i have to tell you, my kids love that movie, before you sit down to a big family meal this weekend, we have tips on how to create those long-lasting memories. what's this? it's progresso's new loaded potato with bacon. it's good. honey, i love you... oh my gosh, oh my gosh.. look at these big pieces of potato. ♪ what's that? big piece of potato. [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. i took some steep risks in my teens. i'd never ride without one now. and since my doctor prescribed lipitor, i won't go without it for my high cholesterol and my risk of heart attack. why kid myself? diet and exercise weren't lowering my cholesterol enough. now i'm eating healthier, exercising more, taking lipitor. numbers don't lie. my cholesterol's stayed down. lipitor is fda approved
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to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in patients who have heart disease or risk factors for heart disease. it's backed by over 19 years of research. [ female announcer ] lipitor is not for everyone, including people with liver problems and women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. you need simple blood tests to check for liver problems. tell your doctor if you are taking other medications, or if you have any muscle pain or weakness. this may be a sign of a rare but serious side effect. [ man ] still love that wind in my face! talk to your doctor. don't kid yourself about the risk of heart attack and stroke. if lipitor's been working for you, stay with it. lipitor may be available for as little as $4 a month with the lipitor co-pay card. terms and conditions apply. learn more at
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you know, to help us form some of our most lasting memories it takes smell. when you think back your own childhood and maybe particularly the holidays the first thing you probably think of are the sweetest of sweets that your grandmother used to make perhaps. here to talk more about this is the managing editor of cnn's etocracy blog. welcome back to the program. >> thanks for having me. >> i read your posting and i think the same thing about those types of foods that conjure up not only good taste but also good memories. first of all i have to say as a doctor there was a reason that
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some of grandmother's foods tasted as good as they did, right, in terms of the ingredients they used as compared to now? >> oh, that would be butter and lard and all that stuff we're afraid of now. it's once a year. let grandma have her say. it tastes better. >> okay. i'm not going to have my doctor hat on all the time but i'll ask these questions. you want to preserve or somehow save a lot of these recipes. you say that you didn't get a chance to do it for your own grandmother but you're encouraging other people to do this now. tell us about the project. >> well, i'm on a crusade because i screwed up big time. i was too busy off doing, chasing boys, being on the cheerleading squad, whatever incredibly important high school things i had to do. i didn't get into the kitchen with my grandmother and learn how to make these recipes at her hands. she didn't write them down. those are lost to the ages. there are all these cookbooks and websites that can help you make the perfect cookie.
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i want my grandma's cookies. i don't want anybody else to have to go through that. >> that little pinch of something extra here and there unless you -- >> exactly. a smidge. >> unless you memorized it you wouldn't remember. how do you go about preserving now some of these recipes for posterity? >> well, we are living in such a fantastic age of technology. all you have to do is bring your video camera into the kitchen with your older relative and talk -- have them talk you through the recipe, get stories from them. when is the first time you made them? could you always get the ingredients for it? capture every one of those steps as they're doing it. if they're a little camera shy take pictures of their hands. it is just really important to capture that memory and that feeling of being with them. >> it's a great holiday thing to do. maybe a holiday tradition starting now. i appreciate you doing this. thanks for joining us again. happy holidays to you. >> thanks so much. i hope you have delicious holidays. >> i will. thanks. you too. up next we got a special holiday treat for you. i recently sat down for my very
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first cnn red chair interview. i shared some stories that i've never shared before up until now. i used to joke with my wife that when we got married, you know, i don't think i had cried since i was 6 years old and now i get all misty eyed, right now, i think you get a little -- when you think about the things and --.
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♪ sing polly wolly doodle all the day ♪ ♪ hah
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i'm dr. sanjay gupta, a neuro surgeon. i operate on the brain and spinal cord. i am also a reporter and chief medical correspondent for cnn. i try not to be one of those guys who says, look, if you can only see what i have seen but if you have time to think, you sit back and think about the fact
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that we all live in the same world, whether you live in a developing world, it is the same world and by good luck or fortune you were born into a situation where you have things other people don't have. but that's it. it was good luck or fortune. it's gotten to the point where i feel guilty going because i know that i have to leave almost assuredly we do get to return to a place that has running water, warm bed, guaranteed food, and most of the people in the places where we go, they don't have that. my guess is that anybody who's done some of the reporting that we've done that a lot of folks here at cnn have done probably has some component of post traumatic stress. we're so lucky, so privileged, and you see people who don't have that. i -- i don't know what to say. you know, i mean, you do your best and you try and make sure
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people at least know what's happening around the world so they, you know, they may care a little more about it. all the arguments going on on television, the media coverage of these things that are so ie n inane and so stupid, frankly. and we can feed the hungry children of the world. this we can do. i mean, you know, there are a lot of problems we aren't going to solve but there are some that we can. so i think about it a lot. i got interested in science when my grandfather got sick. as my mom's father. and a couple doctors that cared for him were neuro surgeons. my parents were engineers. they had degrees in engineering and economics and were interested in business. i just wasn't interested in any of those things. there was nobody in my family who was in science or a doctor. we never had a doctor in our family. i finally found something that i thought spell out the rest of my life and from then on i was hooked. i was hooked on medicine.
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around the time i was 12 or 13 years old. i got accepted to med school young. it was interesting. there was a program which accepted people in the medical school out of high school. so i applied like a lot of other kids applied. and i got in. so i was 16 years old when i started. i turned 17 that year, more reason for teasing when you're on a college campus at 16. you never forget your first solo operation. just a sweet lady. she came to see me in my office. and i told her -- she had a brain tumor. it was a benign brain tumor as far as i could tell and literally as i'm walking out the door, i'm about to shut it, she says, oh, by the way, doctor, how many of these have you done before? and i literally turned around and i looked at her and i said, ma'am, you wouldn't believe how many of these i've done before, shut the door, walked out. and it went well. so, you know, that's how it


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